The following article comes from Brad Buters with Guided Investor. These ideas help bring light to useful financial concepts…
Slavery is an unfortunate part of our history, dating back to the first civilization of Sumer in Mesopotamia, 6800 BC. People were enslaved for numerous reasons including debt, birth into a slave family, child abandonment, war, or as a punishment for crime.
The life of a slave was, as you can imagine, a tough one. They were forced to work and in return received the basics to survive – food, shelter and clothing.
Luckily in this day and age, slavery is largely a thing of the past – or is it?
Modern Financial Slavery
Now days, we spend most of our lives working for a paycheck and, for a lot of people out there, after buying our own food, shelter and clothing, there is often very little left! Effectively we have just introduced a middleman called currency but the net result for a lot of people is the same.
If we do manage to save a little bit of money after covering the basics, there are endless temptations as to how we can spend that money and future money that we don’t even possess yet! Products such as personal loans, car loans, and buy now pay later, push us further and further into the slave lifestyle and there’s very little good information out there to educate us on how to break the chains.
Obviously, this is dramatized and somewhat unrealistic comparison to make between slavery in the traditional sense and our modern society because our standard of living today in developed countries are much higher. We also have options about how and when we work and, most importantly, by working for currency we have the power to build surplus cash flow to create wealth and break the cycle.
Also, please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. This is not about employer vs employee. Employers are equally in the same situation as employees, only their master is the consumer. This is about all of us as individuals creating an asset base separate to our earned income, which will be used to achieve financial freedom.
Financial freedom to me is the ability to meet your desired standard of living with the wealth that you have accumulated. You are not tied down to a set schedule or location, you have the freedom to be where you want and do what you want all while still living the lifestyle you choose. This doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t work. It means that I may choose to work by choice and not obligation.
The price tag to be able to do this is unique to every person as it depends on how much you need to spend in order to live a desirable lifestyle and what age you want to achieve this by. That’s why I don’t like arbitrary numbers thrown around like “you need a million dollars to retire”.
As someone who is fascinated by the idea of building an asset base to replace earned income, I have devoted my whole career to the art of building wealth. What I have discovered so far is that there is no one size fits all approach and unfortunately the majority of people won’t get there. Not because they don’t have the capacity but because they either don’t understand the appropriate money principals or they just aren’t willing to put in the work.
Achieving financial freedom is difficult! On the journey you are going to have to make sacrifices, work hard, push yourself outside of your comfort zone and truly believe that you can be in the minority of people that achieve this high level of financial success.
However, in this life, nothing worth having comes easy. Everyone would love a six pack of abs, but few people have them because it involves training hard and a strict diet. A lot of people would love to build a business, but only the minority do because it comes with risk and uncertainty. The same mentality applies to building wealth.
You can choose an easy life. Get a cruisy job, watch some TV when you get home, spend your surplus money on life’s luxuries and you will probably have a pretty good, comfortable life. However, if you want to be above average financially, you need to do what most other people aren’t willing to do.
This will likely involve educating yourself on how money works, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, taking risks, working hard and making sacrifices where needed. You have to want it so much that it becomes an obsession.
Once you have made the commitment to yourself that you want to be part of the minority that are financially free, the journey can begin. As you get going, you will learn to love the process because you are building something worth having. Something that is going to benefit you and all the people around you. Every time you see that net asset position increase (track your net asset position with the free Wealth Tracker spreadsheet), every time you get a dollar of passive income, every time you review where you are at and realise your closer to that illustrious financial freedom, it’s a small win. These compounding small wins will get you to where you need to be.
Achieving financial freedom is not unattainable. As a Financial Planner, I have seen it happen with my own clients and I am on the journey myself. So don’t make any excuses, if you want it bad enough, do what you need to do to get on track. It does take time so the earlier you can get started the better off you will be.